Lirentelimab for severe and chronic forms of allergic conjunctivitis

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2022 Sep;150(3):631-639. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2022.03.021. Epub 2022 Apr 4.


Background: Allergic conjunctivitis (AC) is an ocular inflammatory disease with symptoms driven by eosinophils and mast cells. Allergic comorbidities are common. Current treatments are often ineffective in severe AC and limited by potential side effects. Lirentelimab is an anti-sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectin-8 mAb that depletes eosinophils and inhibits mast cells.

Objective: We sought to determine safety and preliminary efficacy of lirentelimab in an open-label, phase 1b study.

Methods: Patients with chronic, severely symptomatic atopic keratoconjunctivitis, vernal keratoconjunctivitis, and perennial AC, and who had history of topical or systemic corticosteroid use, were enrolled to receive up to 6 monthly lirentelimab infusions (dose 1: 0.3 mg/kg, dose 2: 1 mg/kg, subsequent doses: 1 or 3 mg/kg). Changes from baseline in peripheral blood eosinophils, changes in patient-reported symptoms (measured by daily Allergic Conjunctivitis Symptom Questionnaire, including atopic comorbidities), changes in investigator-reported ocular signs and symptoms (Ocular Symptom Scores), changes in quality of life, and changes in tear cytokine and chemokine levels were assessed.

Results: Thirty patients were enrolled (atopic keratoconjunctivitis n = 13, vernal keratoconjunctivitis n = 1, perennial AC n = 16), 87% of whom had atopic comorbidities. After lirentelimab treatment, mean improvement was observed in Allergic Conjunctivitis Symptom Questionnaire score (-61%; 95% CI, -75% to -48%) and Ocular Symptom Scores (-53%; 95% CI, -76% to -31%), consistent across atopic keratoconjunctivitis, vernal keratoconjunctivitis, and perennial AC groups. There was substantial improvement in atopic comorbidities, with -55% (95% CI, -78% to -31%), -50% (95% CI, -82% to -19%), and -63% (95% CI, -87% and -38%) reduction in symptoms of atopic dermatitis, asthma, and rhinitis, respectively. Levels of key mediators of inflammation were reduced in patient tears after lirentelimab treatment. The most common adverse effects were mild to moderate infusion-related reactions.

Conclusions: Lirentelimab was well tolerated, improved severe AC and concomitant atopic symptoms, and reduced inflammatory mediators in patient tears.

Keywords: AK002; allergic conjunctival diseases; atopic keratoconjunctivitis; ocular allergy; perennial allergic conjunctivitis; sialic acid–binding immunoglobulin-like lectin-8; vernal keratoconjunctivitis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents* / adverse effects
  • Conjunctivitis, Allergic* / diagnosis
  • Conjunctivitis, Allergic* / drug therapy
  • Eye
  • Graft vs Host Disease*
  • Humans
  • Keratoconjunctivitis*
  • Quality of Life
  • Tears


  • Antineoplastic Agents